Jim Clark Rally crash: 'Two members of same family killed' after car collides with spectators

Two cars left the course and hit spectators in separate crashes

Three people have been killed and six more injured in crashes at a motor rally in Scotland.

Cars hit spectators lining the track in two separate incidents hours apart at the Jim Clark Rally near Kelso on Saturday.

The most serious accident happened at Little Swinton, near Coldstream, at about 4pm when a racing car veered off the road into the crowd.

One woman and two men, rumoured to be members of the same family, were pronounced dead at the scene and another man was taken to hospital in a critical condition.

In a similar accident two hours earlier, five spectators – four men and one women – were injured near Crosshall Farm on the Eccles stage of the track.

Two escaped with minor injuries but the others are in hospital, including one in intensive care.

The racing drivers are understood not to have been injured.

Official confirmation of the crashes came almost seven hours after the first collision.

The scene of the crash at the Jim Clark Rally. The scene of the crash at the Jim Clark Rally.

Superintendent Phil O'Kane said: “I'd like to offer my condolences from Police Scotland, Scottish Borders Council and the organisers of the Jim Clark Rally for the tragic circumstances that bring us here.”

The rally was cancelled after the fatal crash and the Eccles stage was suspended after the first accident, he said.

Questions remain about where people were standing and how the cars left the road.

Mr O'Kane said responsibility for safety rests with the rally's organising committee.

“I do know it is well stewarded, safety is a very big consideration in the planning of it,” he added.

Eyewitnesses to the fatal crash described “terrible” scenes.

Tony Cowan, a spectator, told the BBC: "It was just one car which lost control. It went sideways one way and then to the other side of the road and ploughed into four people.

"It was terrible, absolutely terrible. I ran to help but there was little I could do. The air ambulance arrived after about three quarters of an hour. There were police cars and ambulances. It was chaos, just chaos."

Others on social media had earlier posted pictures and comments about the rally.

One person commented on ”brave“ people sitting on a verge close to a junction at Eccles.

Scores of others left messages of condolence on the Jim Clark Rally website.

The racing competition takes place over three days on closed roads in the Duns and Kelso areas.

It is named after Scottish Formula One driver Jim Clark, who grew up in the area and was killed in a motor racing accident in Germany in 1968.

Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, called the crashes “desperately sad and difficult news”.

He said: “My thoughts are with all of those involved and the families and loved ones of those who have lost their lives.

"The Government is in contact with Police Scotland and we await the outcome of their inquiries.

“The Jim Clark Rally is a long-standing event of over 40 years. It is much loved in the Borders and by the rally driving community who I know will share in our sadness at what is a black day for the Borders and for Scotland.”

Local MSP John Lamont added his condolences and emphasised the rally organisers efforts to ensure the safety of spectators and drivers.

“With any event of this nature, there will always be an element of risk,” he added.

“I live just a few miles away from the scene of the accident and I know that everyone is shocked and saddened by this dreadful news.”

In a statement, the rally organisers said staff were “in shock” and their thoughts were with the friends and relatives of the casualties.

Out of respect for the victims the Rivers Rally due to be held on Sunday has been cancelled, it said.

Additional reporting by PA

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